Alumnae Stories

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Jen Dufault '05 to run the Boston Marathon, thanks Fellow Alum Michaela Atchue '03

We received the following story from graduate Jen Dufault '05. Not only does her story show how important our Love-in-Action legacy is at NDA, but also how far and wide or alumnae net reaches. So often we here of alumnae forming friendships and making connections years later, but in this circumstance, alumnae Michaela Atchue '03 was there for Jen's family at an unimaginably difficult time. Thank you for sharing your story Jen. We'll be cheering for you on April 15th!

I am an NDA graduate, class of 2005, and am running the 2019 Boston Marathon to support Boston Children’s Hospital. Ever since participating in Love in Action while at NDA, I was inspired to find a way to give back in a big way. When my nephew was born this past September, he suddenly stopped breathing and was rushed to Boston Children’s to be treated for Esophageal Atresia. An NDA graduate of 2003, Michaela Atchue, who is now a nurse at Boston Children’s, helped care for Luke after his surgery at only two days old. I am inspired by the work of BCH and the amazing medical professionals like Michaela who are truly changing the lives of children and families. While Luke may continue to face challenges, we feel very blessed he had a successful surgery at 2 days old and we thank the doctors, nurses and all other BCH staff for that. I couldn’t think of a better way to give back and when I was accepted to run with Boston Children’s Marathon team I knew now was the time! I have heard some incredible stories and met some amazing people who have also been positively impacted by Boston Children’s. Please consider helping me reach my goal of $10,000 to help Boston Children’s Hospital continue world class treatment to children in need. Visit her fundraising page HERE.

Olivia Goliger '13

I am a music teacher and the choral director at Franklin High School.  Currently I teach classes in piano, guitar, and American popular music, and conduct the high school's two choirs.

I graduated from Providence College in 2017 with a degree in music education, with concentrations in vocal performance and conducting.  I've been working at FHS since August of 2017 and am hoping to obtain advanced degrees in choral conducting and to spend my life making music and creating beauty with others.  NDA was the catalyst that sent me on my way - I aspire to be a woman with "a heart as wide as the world", just like Saint Julie wanted for her sisters and their students.  I am so incredibly grateful for the gift of my Notre Dame education, the incredible mentors who nurtured and cared for me, and the dear friends I met along the way!

Deborah LeDoux '11


Deborah LeDoux Class of 2011 was first introduced to Visitation House, welcoming women with unplanned pregnancies through the Love and Action program at NDA in 2009.

Deborah currently works at Visitation House as the marketing developer. She gives back to her local community through her commitment and talent - developing strategies for campaigning + fundraising for the nonprofit, transformational home, helping homeless women choose life not only for their babies but themselves with a hand up for a future filled with hope and a strong family unit. 

"Through my education at NDA I developed skills that prepared me for college and my future. Every day I am thankful I was chosen to work for such an important place  like Visitation House. I am thankful everyday that I given the gift of a good education from devoted and self-sacrificing parents. I never expected to end up back in Worcester - never mind changing and saving lives in my local community. This job is an absolute blessing."

Wendy McAfee Casker '83


I am attaching this photo from my office at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, MD.  I have spent 30 years working as an engineer, and I am very excited to be standing in front of an image of the Parker Solar Probe Satellite. I led the electronics manufacturing team through the builds of the hardware for the satellite which will make the closest approach to the sun (of any man-made object)  on Monday, November 5, 2018. The glories of science will be upon us soon :)  My husband and I have been married for 26 years, and we have 2 grown children. We moved to Maryland in 2009.

I graduated from NDA in 1983, and I am proud to be an alumna.  I still remember my days learning math, physics, French, English, Etymology, and religion at NDA.  Please know that my NDA education has taken me far into a wonderful career, and I have lifelong friends, as well.

Wishing you all a happy day!


Best Regards,

Wendy McAfee Casker

Melissa Rausch '96

Melissa Rausch '96 is the Women's Lacrosse Coach, and Assistant Men's Lacrosee Coach at Nichols College.

Melissa Rausch '96, has a unique career. She is a female, coaching a college men's team. Hear what inspires Melissa, and how Notre Dame Academy helped her to become the woman that she is today.

“I have been lucky enough in my career to have the confidence to never think something is not possible. I ask “Why and Why Not” all the time. Being one of the very few female college coaches on a men’s sideline in all of college sports is a great example of that. There was a job opening and instead of thinking, 'I can’t because I am a woman', I thought 'why no?' I have never let my gender define me, instead I have just become the best coach I can be and work as hard as I can in every opportunity I have. NDA instilled that thought process in me at such a young age, I don’t know if I have ever thought any other way. I try to instill that in all the student athletes I am lucky enough to come in contact with.”